There was a certain level of excitement that went through my veins when OPPO's new BDP-93 Universal 3D Blu-ray player arrived at my front door. After having spent much time with OPPO's BDP-83 and BDP-83SE, my expectations were high based on the long list of features in the product description. The BDP-93 supports the new Blu-ray 3D specifications (3D television and glasses required) taking full advantage of many new 3D capable displays. The unit also features dual HDMI outputs with built-in Netflix Instant Streaming and Blockbuster On-Demand. Best of all, this even more powerful and better looking BD player is still priced at an amazing $499.
Latest OPPO BDP-103 Reviewed
The BDP-93 supports
Blu-ray, DVD Video, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD (SACD), CD (including HDCD),
Kodak Picture CD, AVCHD, MP4, DivX, MKV, FLAC, WAV and other audio/video/picture files on recorded discs. The BDP-93 supports BD-Live™ (Profile 2.0) and contains all the necessary hardware (audio/video decoder, Ethernet and wireless networking, and 1GB of internal storage) for BD-Live. It also supports BonusVIEW (Profile 1.1) enabling "picture-in-picture" and audio features for viewing director or actor commentary while the main movie is playing.
The BDP-93 features a beautiful black anodized aluminum front panel
with only a few flushed buttons (power, tray open/close and navigation
controls) that give it a high-end look. The display is easy to read and can be dimmed or completely
turned off (except when receiving commands) for home theater environments. The transport mechanism has a smoother and quieter design than what was offered in the BDP-83 design.
The BDP-93 packaging keeps the unit well protected with the player wrapped in a reusable carrying
bag and a protective film on the front face. A separate container in the package holds the remote with
batteries, power cord, HDMI cable, and standard A/V cables. The new BDP-93 weighs slightly less than the BDP-83SE (10.6 pounds versus 11.3 pounds), yet has the same solid build as its older brother.
The BDP-93 provides two assignable HDMI v1.4a outputs, supporting all old, new, and future HDMI televisions and receivers. This eliminates the need to have a 3D compliant audio receiver or processor since the video signal can go directly to the display. There are also analog component
and composite video connections. There are no dedicated two channel audio outputs, but the 7.1 outputs provide the decoded multi-channel sound with full bass management options.
The wired ethernet connection provides Blu-ray's BD-Live and BonusView interactivity as well as access to the latest firmware updates.
Other interfaces include a USB 2.0 port, IR input jack, digital toslink and coaxial outputs, eSATA port, and an RS232 port for wired remote control of the unit. The eSATA and USB port can be used with an external drive for photos and video content. A detachable power cord makes for an easy installation in tight quarters.
The BDP-93 comes with wireless N capability, but it is not built into the unit. Instead, the player includes an external USB WiFi dongle along with an extension cable attached to a dock. This allows the dongle to be placed on a flat surface away from the back of the BD player for better reception. In our tests the signal strength increased from 62% to 94% using the optimally placed USB dock provided with the dongle. The dongle is actually a 10/100Mb (not 1Gb) Atheros AR9271 unit with drivers built into the BDP-93. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi dongle is not compatible with 5GHz-only 802.11n systems, but works fine with the more common 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n systems. Our wireless network uses a TRENDnet TEW-650AP Wireless b/g/n Access Point. Configuration is easy using the Internet Connection menu where the user can select either wired or wireless connectivity. We ran all of our tests with a wired cable for the fastest and most reliable connection. The wireless dongle did detect our WiFi system and had no problem connecting to it. In addition, we were able to watch HD Netflix movies without any bandwidth issues or artifacts.
The BDP-93 design has the functionality partitioned into three main boards (not including the front panel). Like its predecessors, the BDP-93 has a separate power supply board located on the left side and accommodates worldwide power from 100-240VAC (50/60
Hz). The main A/V board has the video decoder and processor with a large number of audio and video interface connectors on the back, mounted to the rear panel. A large thermal plate covers the video processor to help remove heat and improve reliability. Unlike the BDP-83, the new BDP-93 player does not have an internal fan. The Audio Board has the analog audio connectors that feed the back panel and includes the D/A conversion onboard.
The "L" shaped video processing board is located on the right side and back of the unit next to the Blu-ray drive. This board handles all of the A/V processing and most of the interfaces including the BD drive, front panel board, and all rear audio and video interfaces except for the analog audio. OPPO's design topology keeps the sensitive analog audio
electronics away from the noisier digital signals, maximizing audio performance. The BDP-93 also has a Pure Audio mode that is designed to keep the video circuits off to minimize noise bleed into the audio.
Something new to the OPPO line is the inclusion of the Marvell 88DE2750 “Kyoto-G2” Digital Video Format Converter. This second-generation Qdeo™ video
processor has replaced the popular Anchor Bay ABT2010 chip used in the BDP-83. The Marvell chip has received many awards from the industry for its superb video performance and has been adopted in various products from many well-known companies. The Marvell chip offers motion-adaptive, edge-adaptive 3D de-interlacing with support for arbitrary film cadences along with per-pixel 3D Video Noise Reduction (VNR) and Block Noise Reduction (BNR). There is also a Source Direct mode allowing for outboard processing of the video. Finally, the BDP-93 also uses the latest Silicon Image SiI9334 HDMI® 1.4 Transmitter chip to send video signal out of the HDMI 1 connector.
The BDP-93 can output lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA bitstreams from the HDMI connector. The built-in multi-channel decoder can convert all channels to LPCM and output audio using either the HDMI connector or through the 7.1 analog audio outputs. The design is very flexible at adapting to virtually any system both older and newer.
Power forms (±15VDC, and +5VDC) from the main power supply board runs through a second stage of regulation on the audio board to provide cleaner power to the audio components. The audio board in the BDP-93 leverages heavily from the design of the BDP-83 using the same Cirrus Logic
8-Channel D/A Converter (CS4382A) for the 7.1 analog outputs. All
analog outputs pass through dual high-performance low noise (5532) operational
amplifiers before exiting the gold-plated RCA connectors on the back panel.
The modular design makes it easy for OPPO to offer an improved audio section for audiophiles by simply replacing the audio board and power supply. This is why OPPO has recently announced the new BDP-95 Audiophile BD player, which is slated for February 2011. Of course, we are excited to hear about this and will have more on this later.
The BDP-93 remote uses the same design as the BDP-83 remote. We really like this remote and are glad to see OPPO keep this proven design with their latest BD player. The full-size design has a rounded back that gives it a more ergonomic
feel. The remote has large buttons that have identifying symbols and are backlit on top
making them easy to see in the low light
environments found in most home theaters. The layout works well and follows a logical format. Pressing
any button on the remote triggers the backlighting for approximately 8 seconds. There is also a dedicated Light button in the lower right corner. The Top Menu and Pop-Up Menu buttons are
located on the upper left and right sides of the navigation buttons. Setup
and Return are located on the lower right and left of the navigation
buttons. Stop, Play and Pause are larger buttons
for common control. Pressing the Resolution button allows the user to select from Auto, 480I/576I, 480P/576P, 720P, 1080I, 1080P, or Source Direct. OPPO
has also included a three position switch inside the battery compartment that allows the user to change
the command set so that it does not interfere with other OPPO products.
This feature provides full and separate control of two OPPO units in the same room. We found that the remote's default setting (position 1) also controlled
our OPPO DV-981HD DVD player.
We connected the BDP-93 HDMI 1 output directly to our Anthem LTX-500v LCoS 1080p projector and HDMI 2 output to our Denon AVR-5308CI A/V receiver. While our projector is currently not 3D capable we wanted to test both HDMI outputs on the unit.
AVR-5308CI A/V receiver is mated to a Parasound HCA-2205AT five channel amplifier
to drive our M&K 5.1 speaker system. The AVR-5308CI uses a THX crossover
set at 80 Hz and works well with our speaker configuration. The receiver
is capable of decoding all of the latest surround formats over HDMI and
also has the option for analog 7.1 inputs, so we can test the player's
internal decoding, DACs and analog section. Our projector is mated to a 100-inch Stewart FireHawk. Walls
are covered with Echo Buster sound absorption panels. This helps
eliminate slap echo and significantly reduce the RT60
time in the room. As a result, secondary reflections, which often blur
the sonic image are largely reduced or eliminated.
on, the BDP-93 walks the user through the Easy Setup Wizard. Video connections and resolution are selected
along with aspect ratio and audio options. This will get the vast majority
of users up and running in little time. Users can also use
the Setup Menu to better define their audio and video settings to maximize performance and to set common preferences.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
The OPPO BDP-93 uses the same style of user interface found in the BDP-83, with a logical and easy to follow menu system. The latest firmware version has a much smoother feel than the earlier release. OPPO has done
an excellent job putting together a set of menus that work both for the novice and
the advanced user. In addition, the fonts are softer and more pleasing to the
eye. User can also access the menus without having to stop playing the disc, which
is a great feature only found on very few expensive players.
Easy Setup Wizard
The simplified setup menus are designed to walk the user through some initial settings to quickly get the player up and running.
Oppo calls it the Easy Setup Wizard and it consists of 6 basic steps that require simple inputs from the user.
First the user needs to define the primary video output. The user can choose between HDMI and component video. Whenever possible, the user should always select HDMI unless the display being used does not support it. HDMI has the handshake for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), so resolution will be limited if the HDMI digital interface is not used.
The user can select the video output to be Auto, 1080P, 1080I, 480P/576P, 480I/576I or Source Direct. Once the TV output mode is changed the player will ask the user to confirm the setting before making the change final. If the user does not confirm the new setting, the player will revert back to the previous video mode. This prevents the player from using a video mode that leaves the user without a picture.
The next step defines the aspect ratio of the display. Displays with a 4:3 aspect ratio can select Letterbox or Pan & Scan. Those with the newer 16:9 HDTV's can choose Wide or Wide/Auto with the latter mode placing side borders on 4:3 source material.
Finally, the user needs to select the audio mode. The Compatible mode is designed to work with most displays and receivers. However, there is also an advanced setting for HDMI 1.3 compatible receivers. More advanced users should use the Audio Settings in the Setup Menu.
There is no doubt that the Easy Setup Wizard allows less savvy users to get their BD player configured in a short time and the majority of users will benefit from it. However, we would recommend users become familiar with all of the features available (there are many) on this player to maximize performance.
The Setup Menu on the BDP-93 has six categories and provides
the user with advanced control of the unit's operation. Each menu (Playback
Setup, Video Setup, Audio Format Setup, Audio
Processing, Device Setup, and Network Setup) has
an extensive set of parameters that can be adjusted for optimal performance.
The Playback Setup menu defines the Language, Parental
Control (based on ratings) setting, and screen Markers
for Angle, PIP (picture-in-picture), and SAP (secondary audio programs). The markers are indicated on the screen when these options are available on the disc being watched. SACD Priority
can be set to multi-channel, stereo or CD-mode. The DVD-Audio Mode
selects how DVD-Audio discs will be played (DVD-Audio or DVD-Video). Much
depends on how the user's system is configured and what it supports. Auto
Play Mode, Auto
Resume and Play Back Control (PBC) can be individually set On or
The Video Setup menu adjusts all the video parameters. The Picture
Adjustment panel allows the user to change settings for either HDMI 1 or HDMI 2 & Analog. Primary Output determines the video output (HDMI 1, HDMI 2, or Analog). The
HDMI outputs should always be used whenever possible for the best video performance. The 3D Mode can be set to Auto or Off and the 3D TV Size is entered here. The TV Aspect Ratio can be set to 4:3 Letterbox, 4:3 Pan & Scan, 16:9 Wide, or 16:9 Wide/Auto. The TV System is set to either NTSC or PAL. The Output Resolution can be set to Auto, 1080P, 1080I, 480P/576P, 480I/576I or Source Direct. The 1080p24 Output (Auto, Off, or On) provides a 24 frame per second output rate. The HDMI Options menu defines the Color
Space (RGB Video, RGB PC, YCbCr 4:4:4, or YCbCr 4:2:2) and the Deep Color (36-bits, 30-bits (Dithered), 30-bits, Off (Dithered), or Off) can be set independently for HDMI 1 and HDMI 2. Video Only for HDMI 1 can also be enabled.
The Audio Format menu sets the Secondary Audio (on/off), which
mixes the secondary audio with the main audio. HDMI Audio (LPCM/Bitstream/Off)
can be set based on the equipment or preferences of the user. We ran our
outputs in the bitstream mode and let the Denon receiver do all the decoding.
The Coaxial/Optical Output (LPCM/Bitstream)
selects whether the player converts
the audio to PCM or allows the receiver to decode the raw bitstream. The LPCM Rate Limit (48kHz, 96kHz, or 192 kHz)
sets the maximum sample rate for maximum compatibility with the connected equipment. This prevents the
player from sending higher resolution data than is supported over the digital outputs. The SACD Output (PCM/DSD) can be set to output a raw DSD stream
or converted PCM data and HDCD Decoding can be set On or Off.
The Audio Processing menu defines the Speaker Configuration
of the system and allows each channel to be set to large or small and
adjusted for level and distance. Interestingly enough, none of the other speakers can be set farther than the front two speakers. That also includes the subwoofer, which can be an issue for some. The Speaker Configuration only
applies to the analog outputs and does not affect the digital bitstream
or LPCM outputs. The Down Mix Mode can be set to 7.1CH, 5.1CH,
Stereo and LT/RT. This mode will down mix the source material to the specified
mode. The Crossover frequency can be set from 40Hz to 250Hz covering a huge range of loudspeaker configurations. We feel that 80Hz is optimal in most cases. The Dynamic Range Control can be set to Auto, On or Off.
The Device Setup menu provides Firmware Information and options to perform a Firmware Upgrade via USB, Disc, or Network. Firmware Notification can be set On to automatically check for firmware updates through the OPPO server. There are also settings for the Remote Control Code (1, 2, or 3), HDMI CEC (HDMI 1, HDMI 1 (Limited), HDMI 2, HDMI 2 (Limited), and Off), Front Panel Display (Full, Standard, Dim, and Off), Persistent Storage options (internal/external storage, erase BD Video data),
Netflix (display ESN, deactivate Netflix), DivX® VOD DRM, Easy Setup, and Reset Factory Defaults.
The Network Setup menu configures the ethernet connection
that allow access to BD-Live content as well as firmware
updates. The Connection Information displays the current IP address. BD-Live Network Access and My Network can independently be turned on or off. The user can choose the Internet Connection (ethernet, wireless or off). The Wireless Setting selection becomes active if wireless is selected and can scan for active WiFi links. IP Settings can be auto or manual and Proxy Settings can be on or off. The manual mode allows the user to enter the
current IP Address, Subnet Mask, Gateway, DNS 1, and DNS 2.
The Connection Test will run a check to verify the network connection is working properly.
If the network connection is active on the BDP-93, the unit can automatically poll the OPPO server for updates. Users can also manually check for firmware updates or use the USB port or disc image to update the unit. One of the advantages of the latest BD player is the ability for manufacturers to make incremental updates when issues are found. In many cases, the end-user is the one that reports problems back to the manufacturers and OPPO has always been responsive to their customers. The latest update we received on this unit provided noticeable user interface improvements. However, we did not encounter any problems with the previous firmware version.
Pressing the Home button on the remote takes the user to the Home screen. The BDP-93 can be used to playback music, photos and movie clips from disc, a thumb drive, eSATA drive, or the connected network. Using the My Network selection, the user can browse through any of the connected network drives for content. Our NAS played video content on the BDP-93 with impressive performance and speed. The user also has access to the Setup from the Home screen. The BDP-93 offers more features than the previous BDP-83 with the ability to stream content from both Netflix and Blockbuster.
We have been using Netflix for some time with a dedicated Roku XD-S Media Player. The Netflix user interface in the OPPO unit looked very similar to what we were used to even though it ran a bit slower than the Roku unit. Once the Netflix content began to play, there were no speed issues or interruptions (even with HD material). Access to the member's Instant Queue along with options for over 20 other genres is displayed on the screen. The movie selection is impressive and there is plenty of content for just about everyone. This addition to the OPPO BDP-93 make this player even more desirable – eliminating the need for a separate Netflix media player.
We watched both DVD and Blu-ray on this player and video quality was excellent as with the previous generation of OPPO BD players. While scaled DVD content never looks as good as well mastered BD content, the player did a good job upscaling standard definition DVD to 1080p. Netflix content that was available in high definition (albeit 720p) looked quite good with this unit and was noticeably sharper than regular non-HD streams and DVD content. Support for 1080p/24 Blu-ray discs made for smooth motion and the Marvell video processor did a superb job on a variety of material.
The BDP-93 supports multiple levels of aspect ratio control and image zooming, including a vertical stretch mode for users with a 2.35:1 CIH (Constant Image Height) projector lens. A unique subtitle shift feature allows you to move the subtitle up and down, making it possible to see all subtitle text when taking advantage of a 2.35:1 picture.
The 1080p picture produced by the BDP-93 was reference quality with smooth gradations and excellent resolution. Colors were rich and skin tones took on a natural appearance. Animated movies such as How to Train your Dragon on Blu-ray had very fine detail that really showed-off the BD format. Unfortunately, our current projector and flat panel display does not support 3D, so we were unable to test and of these features. However, we will follow up with this once we get a 3D display or projector in house.
One of the advantages of the BDP-93 is that it supports a myriad of audiophile formats such as SACD, DVD-Audio, DTS (Master Audio) and Dolby (TrueHD) lossless bitstreams. The BDP-93 can also handle WAV and FLAC files, which had issues on the previous BDP-83. Analog audio quality was similar to that of the BDP-83, so those looking to use the analog outputs can rest assured the player does a good job here. We chose to use the HDMI interface to carry multi-channel PCM, DSD, and other multi-channel bitstreams with excellent results. As a transport this player is great and we love the number of audio formats it supported.
Access time can vary widely among different BD player manufacturers and many consider this to be an important performance metric when choosing a unit. The BDP-83 had good performance in this category and appears that the BDP-93 is even better. I ran several discs that I had previously timed on the BDP-83 and the BDP-93 beat them by an estimated 20%-30%.
DVD Layer Switching Times
Like BD start-up times, many users want to know if the BDP-93 has any significant or noticeable delays when performing a layer switch on DVD. Based on several discs that I watched, the layer times were so short that they were not noticeable. This is a significant improvement over the BDP-83.
Oppo has leveraged from the success of the BDP-83 Blu-ray player and it shows with the new BDP-93. Significant improvements in performance along with the addition of Netflix and Blockbuster streaming make this BD player better than ever. The new transport design, excellent video processing, 3D capability, dual HDMI 1.4a output and a solid chassis keeps the latest OPPO Blu-ray player on the most wanted list. The user interface offers the same easy to use design found in the BDP-83.
The BDP-93 represents OPPO's latest achievement with the most powerful and flexible Blu-ray player priced for under $500. The performance of this player will not disappoint. For those customers looking for an audiophile version of this player with greater attention on the analog outputs, stay tuned for the BDP-95 that includes the same ESS DACs used in the BDP-83SE along with a more robust power supply. OPPO makes it easy to upgrade your existing system and with the dual HDMI outputs, customers can experience the new 3D-capable displays while still accommodating their older (non-HDMI 1.4 compatible) receiver for multi-channel audio. This is our new reference Blu-ray player.